Celtics' focus shifts to Evans with Williams off the table

Celtics' focus shifts to Evans with Williams off the table

WASHINGTON – While one potential trade target of the Boston Celtics is off the market, another one remains very much in play. 

Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams has reportedly agreed to a three-year extension to remain with the Clippers.

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Boston was among several teams to inquire about the 6-foot-1 guard’s availability leading up to Thursday’s 3 p.m. EST trade deadline. 

Williams, a Sixth Man of the Year award winner in 2015, has had a borderline all-star type season, averaging a career-high 23.3 points per game along with 5.3 assists. 

Memphis wing Tyreke Evans remains in play for the Celtics who are one of the front-runners for the 28-year-old Evans.

Memphis has made no secret about wanting a trade package for Evans that would include a first-round pick, something teams – the Celtics included – have been reluctant to do thus far. 

The Grizzlies have already shut down Evans from playing, to ensure he remains healthy leading up to the trade deadline. 

In addition to Boston, Philadelphia, Denver and Miami are viewed as the front-runners for him.

While this has been a rough season for the Grizzlies who record-wise (18-35) are one of the NBA’s worst teams, Evans has actually had one of his best seasons as a pro. 

The former Rookie of the Year award winner is averaging 19.3 points per game, shooting 45.8 percent from the field and a shade under 40 percent (39.2 percent to be exact) from 3-point range. 

Evans’ versatility as a scorer and ball-handler, combined with his strong 6-foot-6 frame and experience in the NBA, has made him a player that could certainly strengthen a Celtics bench that’s already going to be stronger once the trade deadline passes. 

Veteran center Greg Monroe came to terms on a one-year deal worth $5 million with Boston that will become official sometime shortly after the trade deadline passes tomorrow afternoon. 

NBC Sports Boston learned that Monroe arrived in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning which is where the Celtics will play the Washington Wizards tomorrow night. 

Monroe’s deal could be completed prior to the game, but that’s still no guarantee that he’ll be in uniform for Boston’s game against the Wizards. 


There have also been reports that the Celtics are interested in trading Marcus Smart, with the latest rumor involving the Denver Nuggets. 

Boston would reportedly want a package that included a first-round pick in return, but NBC Sports Boston has been told that even that might not be enough to pry Smart out of Boston. 

“This time of year, everybody’s asking price is too high,” said a league executive. “That’s what GMs are supposed to do; ask for the world. But I don’t see them moving (Smart). I just think at the end of the day, he’s more valuable to the Celtics as a player who can really help them get to the NBA Finals this year, than whatever first-round pick they might be offered that’ll probably have some type of protections on it. I think they’ll keep him.”


Ray Allen among Hall of Fame finalists

Ray Allen among Hall of Fame finalists

Ray Allen, part of the Celtics' Big Three that won Boston's last championship in 2008, is one of the finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 announced Saturday at NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

Allen, the all-time leader in three-pointers with 2,973, who, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, helped the Celtics hang their 17th championship banner, joins Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Grant Hills and WNBA stars Tina Thompson and Katie Smith as first-time nominees. Also among the finalists are Maurice Cheeks, Chris Webber, coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell, coach Kim Mulkey, coach Rudy Tomjanovich, referee Hugh Evans, and the Wayland Baptist University women’s team.

The inductees to be enshrined in the Hall in September in Springfield, Mass., will be revealed April 1 at the NCAA men's Final Four in San Antonio. 

Finalists for induction need to be retired for at least three seasons. They'll now be voted on by a 24-member panel that includes current Hall of Famers, basketball executives and media members. Those receiving at least 18 of 24 votes will be inducted.

More on the Hall finalists here from NBCSports.com's Pro Basketball Talk 

Allen was part of a recent Celtics Talk podcast where he talked about his Celtics career and the controversy after he left to join the Miami Heat in 2012. Click here or listen below.


Jaylen Brown scores 35 in Rising Stars game

USA TODAY Sports photo

Jaylen Brown scores 35 in Rising Stars game

LOS ANGELES – A year ago this time, Jaylen Brown couldn’t even get an invite to the rookie-sophomore game, the Rising Stars Challenge.

But this year, he was there and he played a prominent role for Team USA even though it wasn’t enough as the Team World squad easily won, 155-124.

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It certainly wasn’t because of Brown who led all scorers with 35 points on 14-for-21 shooting along with 10 rebounds.

And it was vintage Brown, mixing in an array of jumpers, 3-pointers and of course a pair memorable between-the-leg dunks.

Brown put on a show, for sure which isn’t all that surprising when you consider how the perceived snub last year served as added motivation for him on Friday night.

“Definitely I feel like I've got a chip on my shoulder, so I come out with that tenacity that I want people to recognize,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I want people to see. I just come out and play with that fire and let everything else fall into place.”

In addition to leading all scorers on Friday night, Brown also set a Celtics record for most points scored in the rookie-sophomore game.

“Like I said before, it's just great being here,” Brown said. “It's a tremendous opportunity. I just thank the NBA for letting me be part of this weekend. I had a lot of fun, and I just came out and was playing some basketball. Simple.”

Brown's Celtics teammate, rookie Jayson Tatum, came off the Team USA bench and scored 15 points.

And while they didn’t play too many stints together on Friday, both being selected for the game is a reminder of just how their progression and growth within the Celtics organization is along the same lines for each of them.

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“This year we've grown tremendously together,” Brown said. “Just studying older guys – Kyrie [Irving], Marcus Morris, [Aron] Baynes, and learning the game together, Al Horford. So me and him have gotten better together. So anytime you can grow with somebody in this league and also be successful, it's always dope being a part of situations like this. Like the Rising Stars Challenge I think is pretty cool. I think in the future, if we continue to stay together and continue to grow, I think we could be special.”

The same could be said for Brown’s play on Friday night, the kind of performance that speaks to the improvement in his game this season.

“My growth from last year to this year was significant, and my growth from this year to next year is going to be even better,” Brown said. “So, that's all it's about at the end of the day. It's not about dominating, it's not about this. It's just about getting better each and every day, you know, and just trying to hang a banner in Boston.”

Here are some of Brown's best moves: 

And Tatum's: